CyberNotes
Web Browser Wednesday




Now that Windows Vista has been released it is time for software developers to start making their applications look a little cleaner with the Aero Glass interface. Right now most applications look alright, but many of them don’t take advantages of Vista’s new graphical capabilities…specifically browsers. Well, maybe not all browsers because Internet Explorer 7 sure looks sweet with its excess transparency (even the search bar has a little transparency):

IE7

Unfortunately the other browsers aren’t quite to the point where they can take advantage of those features because the operating system is still so new, but I’m sure it will come in due time. Seeing that I’m a Firefox/Opera user myself I began searching Google for some alternative skins for both of the browsers and managed to scrounge up some that will definitely look better for Vista users.

If you’ve seen Opera in Vista it really doesn’t look that bad so I don’t mind sticking with the default theme, but Firefox’s toolbars have a purplish glow that I just can’t cope with:

Firefox Plain

When comparing the appearance of that Firefox to Internet Explorer 7 in Vista, I would undoubtedly say that IE 7 wins. When I was searching Google for "Firefox Vista" I came across this skin made by a DeviantArt user. It still doesn’t offer the slick transparency that IE 7 has but I definitely like the look:

Firefox Vista

Using that skin makes Firefox blend in a lot more with the rest of the operating system. I’m hoping that at some point a skin will be made to utilize the "pixel shading" in Vista, which is what ads a blurry transparent effect so that text is still easy to read.

Now onto Opera! I think Opera’s default skin feels just right in Windows Vista without needing any change, but there is also a skin that makes the browser look a little more like what IE 7 offers. Of course, you’ll only be able to switch skins if you can pull yourself away from the PlayBoy skin, which is one of Opera’s most popular (safe for work screenshot, and borderline safe for work screenshot). Here’s what the LikeIE Opera skin looks like:

OperaVista

So those are the skins that I managed to find on my journey to making my browsers fit in a little better with Windows Vista. I’ve been contemplating how long it will be before developers actually jump on the Vista bandwagon and really go all out to make the applications look nice on the operating system, but I’m guessing it won’t be for more than a year. A lot of people are still using XP and I think that developers will hold off on spending more money on visual appearance until Vista starts to pick up more of the market share.